Just days before a union vote, the Canadian buyer of Boeing's commercial aircraft operations in Kansas and Oklahoma told machinists that...

Share story

WICHITA, Kan. — Just days before a union vote, the Canadian buyer of Boeing’s commercial aircraft operations in Kansas and Oklahoma told machinists that letters telling them whether they have a job offer are in the mail.

Onex told the Wichita plant’s nearly 6,000 machinists in a memo yesterday that they will receive letters at their homes today indicating whether they would be offered jobs with the new company.

Machinists who receive an employment offer will be told to report to work as usual on Monday, according to the memo. As many as 2,000 people could receive letters saying they won’t be hired. Those workers will be told not to report to work Monday but will continue to receive pay and benefits through Boeing until the sale closes, the memo said.

The letters are going out only to the Wichita plant’s machinists, whose union has completed contract negotiations. Onex must negotiate eight labor contracts with the seven unions representing workers at the three facilities affected by the sale.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Workers and their unions were caught by surprise by the timing of the job offers and the decision to bar workers not hired by the new company from their Boeing jobs Monday.

Last month, Boeing sent 60-day layoff notices to 9,300 workers at its plants in Wichita and Tulsa and McAlester, Okla.

Workers were told last week that the layoffs would occur between June 2 and June 15 after the sale was completed.

“Our commitment is to tell employees everything we know as soon as we know, and this is just playing out that commitment in this particular regard,” said Boeing spokesman Craig Martin.

The offers come on the brink of Tuesday’s vote by the largest union at Boeing on a contract proposal from Onex asking workers to accept a 10 percent pay cut and agree to other concessions.